Shifting the frames with gratitude

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This blog might seem like a slight departure in theme for me, but actually it’s pretty connected to a lot of my thoughts around story, frames and social change.

Last November I participated in Capturing Gratitude - a photographic gratitude project – initiated by Dr. Lauren Tober. Lauren and I went to High School together and have stayed in touch in various and random ways over the years. I’ve been very inspired by her journey through life as a yogi and psychologist and I was curious to join in on the project last year, despite not feeling like I was in a particularly shiny or grateful space.

Essentially the project involved posting a photo a day on the Capturing Gratitude facebook group of something that you felt grateful for. It was an interesting process for me and crossed the boundaries of personal, internal and spiritual thinking with my more professional and outward thinking around communications, workplace cultures and framing.

At times other people’s photos (particularly of lovers and kids) brought up challenging emotions for me. Other times I wondered if I was showing off or over sharing as I was having a pretty flamboyant month last November with the launch of my film. Having a daily practice to reflect on what I have, what others have and to pay attention to what came up was a great process for me. What was initially challenging about other people’s (seemingly comparatively glowing) lives became a source of joy, not threat. A shift from not enough to enough.

Capturing Gratitude came off the back of a pretty huge pile of reading around healing and grief and so it was perfect timing for me to shift in to something practical. Over the month I really did start to notice that the way I was looking at the world, my perspective and my frames shifting; influenced by the requirement of the project to pay attention to things I was grateful for rather than the gaping ache in my chest.

This personal shift fed in to thinking I’ve been doing about how scarcity / siege mentality and abundance / possibility frames play out in teams and in workplace cultures. Having practiced on a micro level I came to see even more how relevant positive framing and paying attention to what is good and real here and now is to achieving justice in the world more broadly. When you see the good in the here and now it becomes easier to envisage what else is possible looking forward. And the ability to create ambitious, inclusive and radical new visions is critical to achieving deep cultural shifts and social change.

Lauren interviewed me after the project for her blog and my collection of 2012 gratitude pics are here on flickr.

Lauren has expanded the project this year to include lot of interviews about gratitude practice and is about to launch a new website. I’m really looking forward to participating again and encourage you to check it out too. Capturing Gratitude will take place in February 2014.

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One Comment Leave a comment

  1. Alex! I loved reading about your experience of Capturing Gratitude last year! You’re still an inspiration to me xxxx

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